OWMA lies in the lower extremes of the Moapa and Virgin river valleys where they flow into the north end of the Overton Arm of Lake Mead. This is about 65 miles northeast of Las Vegas using Interstate 15 and State Route 169.
HABITAT: Located in the Mojave Desert, OWMA supports an abundance of fish and wildlife that contributes significantly to the biological diversity of southern Nevada. Desert riparian habitat, associated with the floodplain of the Muddy and Virgin rivers, is extremely important to wildlife populations. The dense shrubbery of desert wash habitat provides food and shelter for small mammals and many species of birds. Numerous wet meadows and ponds dot the landscape, providing food, cover, and water for birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The deep water of Lake Mead provides habitat for fish, cormorants, and diving ducks, while shallow littoral zones provide feeding areas for puddle ducks and shorebirds.
FARMING: Approximately 165 acres of crops are grown on OWMA to provide forage, shelter, and escape cover for a variety of wildlife. Barley is planted in October and November and used by migrating geese through February and early March. Alfalfa is grown as a rotation crop since it enhances soil nitrogen levels and when disked into the soil it helps with soil fertility. All planting is done on a schedule most advantageous to crop production and other wildlife use.
To provide forage, escape cover, and shelter, approximately 165 acres are grown on OWMA. Migrating geese travelling through February and early March enjoy the barley that is planted in October and November. To help with soil fertility, alfalfa is grown as a rotation crop, because it enhances soil nitrogen levels. For optimum crop production, and keeping other widlife uses in mind, all planting is done on a planned schedule.
Alkali Bulrush Plots: A Farming and Water Management program includes approximatey 200 acres of alkali brush. In the fall, the units are flooded, which provides quality feeding and loafing areas for the migrating waterfowl. In the summer months, the units are drained and allowed to dry, which helps conserve water supplies for summer crops.
Prescribed Burning: In order to improve habitat and control vegetation along pond edges and agricultural drainage ditches, prescribed burning takes place on OWMA land. This results in tender, succulent feed for upland game, waterfowl, and other wildlife.
Herbicide Spraying: Another procedure used to provide more desirable habitat is the application of herbicides to control undesired vegetation.
Invasive Plant Management: Russian Knapweed and Tamarisk are two invasive plants that have become major threats to the habitats. It is difficult and time consuming to control these invasive plants, as they are very comptetitive in nature. When they are allowed to spread, it impacts the natural plant diversity and thus impacts the diversity of the wildlife in the area.
WILDLIFE AND FISH: Because of the NDOW's habitat development projects, and the many different variety of habitat types, the wildlife in the OWMA is very diverse.This makes this area biologically important because there are a large variety of different animals, fish, reptiles and birds in such a small area.There are 265 species of birds, 47 species of mammals, 22 species of fish, and 28 species of reptiles and amphibians.
Waterfowl:Over 22 species of ducks have been recorded on OWMA. The most common species include northern pintails, green-winged teal, mallards and ruddy ducks. Duck populations generally begin to build during late-September and peak in January. Cinnamon teal and redheads are generally early migrants. Canada geese are the most commonly found goose species at OWMA while white-fronted, snow and Ross geese are occasional visitors. Tundra swans visit Overton but are relatively uncommon.
Upland Game Birds and Mammals: Mourning doves begin arriving in the vicinity during July and early August. By late August, the fall migration has begun and normally by mid- to late-September all but a few stragglers have left southern Nevada. White-winged doves also occur infrequently on the area. Gambel’s quail are common on OWMA. Rio Grande turkeys were introduced to OWMA in 1991 and the current estimated population in all of Moapa Valley is between 350 and 500 birds. Mammals regularly observed on OWMA include desert cottontail, bobcat, kit fox, beaver, coyote, striped skunk, spotted skunk and long-tailed weasel.
Wildlife-Related Recreation:Wildlife observation, horseback riding, photography, hiking, and educational activities are some of the wildlife-related recreation available on OWMA. Roads throughout the area provide excellent viewing of wetland-dependent and upland wildlife. A campground and a picnic area also provide a jumping-off point to explore the area.
Hunting: Numerous hunting opportunities are available on OWMA with waterfowl hunting being the most popular hunting activity on the area. Due to crowded conditions, a reservation and assigned hunt location system was developed for the OWMA. During the waterfowl season, hunting is allowed on the developed Moapa Valley portion of the area every other day. Hunters on the developed portion are confined to assigned blind locations. Hunting activity is allowed every day on the Virgin Valley portion of the area. Hunters are also attracted to OWMA for dove, quail, rabbit and turkey. Mourning dove and occasionally white-winged dove are pursued. Hunters are encouraged to review NDOW’s current regulation brochures prior to hunting at OWMA.
Fishing and Boating: The Overton Arm of Lake Mead, which at times can inundate a portion of the OWMA, supports some of the heaviest angler use on any reservoir in the state of Nevada. When a portion of the WMA is inundated by Lake Mead, anglers typically have a fishing preference of largemouth bass, striped bass, black crappie, and channel catfish. Anglers are encouraged to review NDOW’s current fishing regulations prior to fishing at OWMA and should also check on current water levels to determine if fishing is available on the area. Boats are prohibited on ponds within the OWMA but are allowed on that portion of the area that may be inundated by Lake Mead.
The Overton Wildlife Management Area is located off Moapa Valley Blvd, approximately 2 miles south of the town of Overton. See map below for directions.
Click here to go the NDOW (Nevada Department of Wilife) Official Website for more information about the OWMA, Hunting, Fishing and Boating Regulations.